When you go to work, you expect to complete your daily tasks without any major issues. All employers are responsible for ensuring staff has a safe and secure working environment. Sadly, that’s not always the reality for some workers. Things like fires, natural disasters, and armed robberies can occur at random.
So, as an employer, how can you lower the risk of your staff getting affected by such events? Well, it turns out there are plenty of things you can do to create a safe and secure working area for your staff. Here are some proven examples that you can follow at your premises:
Carry out a risk assessment
Your first task should be to conduct a full and in-depth risk assessment of your premises. The idea is to find out what dangers (hidden or otherwise) could injure people. Even if you think your workplace is safe, it might shock you to learn what issues you’ll come across!
Examples include things like loose wires on the floor through to blocked fire escapes. During a risk assessment, it’s important to scrutinize everything in the workplace. Doing so will, of course, flag up any potential problems. And you’ll also lower the risk of compensation claims from folks if they hurt themselves.
When you carry out a risk assessment, be sure to make full notes of all the checks you do. And when you perform remedial work for any problems, note the dates that you carry them out. It’s crucial to keep a record of risk assessments and repairs for admin and legal reasons.
Make sure you have clear fire escape routes
If a fire broke out at your premises, how would everyone escape to safety? Unsure of the answer? You’ll need to define some emergency exit routes if that’s the case. For a start, you’ll need to install some emergency exits in your building if you haven’t done so already. Next, you’ll need to fit signs that tell people they are emergency exits.
And last, but not least, you must ensure all staff at your premises are familiar with escape routes. One thing you could also do is place a laminated map by each emergency exit. That way, if one path gets blocked, people can head for an alternative exit.
Have a sprinkler system fitted
One of the most efficient ways to put out a fire fast is with a sprinkler system. Most factories, commercial units, and schools have them as standard.
When a fire gets detected, the system actives and distributes pressurized water. There are hundreds of distribution points that allow water to spread in an even pattern. Fire sprinkler systems are useful for other reasons aside from helping to put out fires. First of all, they cool the building down to prevent structural collapse.
Second, they allow firefighters to control better any chemical or electrical fires. And, third, they reduce the risk of injury or death to people in the building.
When getting a new system, make sure you avoid using galvanized steel water supply pipes. Instead, opt for black steel pipes. Why? The answer is simple: corrosion rates will be lower. Find out more at ECSCorrosion.com/galvanized-pipe-vs-black-steel to discover the science behind it all.
Install fire extinguishers at key locations
You can’t just rely on a fire sprinkler system alone to help you tackle fires. There will be times where fires may need to get put out with individual chemicals.
It makes sense to have some fire extinguishers installed in the primary locations. They come in various classes, as defined below:
- A (green triangle) – ordinary solid combustibles;
- B (red square) – flammable liquids and gasses;
- C (blue circle) – electrical equipment;
- D (yellow five-pointed star) – combustible metals; and
- K (black hexagon) – oils and fats.
You should install fire extinguishers relevant to the type of work carried out in the area. For example, it makes sense to have Class B and K extinguishers in a cooking area. In a room filled with electronic equipment, Class C ones are most useful.
Get CCTV cameras installed in and around your premises
Let’s face it. You can’t have people monitoring all areas of your workplace at all times. It’s just not practical. The ideal solution to that problem is to have CCTV cameras installed.
You can have a network of surveillance cameras monitoring various entry and exit points. The beauty of today’s CCTV systems is they can get connected to a remote control center. The Internet makes it possible to monitor CCTV cameras from anywhere in the world.
If a monitoring center detects suspicious activity, they can dispatch personnel to investigate it. And they can also contact law enforcement officials to attend the scene if a crime is in progress.
Use biometric access technology
Locks and keys were long used by people to secure rooms and buildings. The problem with that approach is keys could end up in the wrong hands. And if that were to happen at your business, you could end up with devastating consequences.
Technology can help us reduce the risk of unauthorized access to business premises. One typical example growing in popularity is biometric access technology.
There are many ways you can use the technology to keep unauthorized people out. For instance, iris and fingerprint scanners are two such examples. Tech-centric access control gets used by companies of all shapes and sizes. What’s more, the technology is cost-effective to put in place.
Store critical data in the cloud
For years, many companies thought it best to store their crucial data on local file servers. If something were to happen to those servers, they might assume backups will save the day. But, what if nobody tested whether the backup systems worked? And what if it was impossible to build a new server to the same spec as the old one?
As you can imagine, there are too many disadvantages to storing data on the premises. Instead, a better disaster recovery option is to store valuable information in the cloud.
There are many public cloud providers available such as Google and Amazon. It’s also possible to create private clouds. In a nutshell, this is where you control and manage your hardware in an off-site data center.
Should something happen at your premises, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that all data is intact. What if something happened at the data center, I hear you ask? You can have data replicated across servers in different data centers!
Keep a detailed inventory of equipment
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got an office, factory or a farm. You must always keep a comprehensive list of equipment and machines at your premises. You should also include details of serial numbers too.
Sometimes issues can arise if staff use personal equipment that is the same as what the company owns. Detailed records will stop any disputes over ownership.
It’s also a good idea to add security marks to the tools and machines that your company owns and uses. That way, if any of them gets stolen, they can get identified.
Do background checks on all new employees
I’d like to say that you can trust anyone that you hire, but we both know that isn’t always possible. Before you take on any new staff, you must ensure they are who they say they are. Plus, you must check if they have any criminal records that could affect their work. Prominent examples include people that work with children or vulnerable adults.
Background checks are a legal entitlement by employers. Plus, they help to create a safe working environment for all employees.
Ensure staff have the right training
One of the dangers to people in the workplace is when individuals don’t carry out their jobs properly. That is particularly true when people deal with dangerous chemicals or materials each day.
The last thing you want is for a class-action lawsuit to get filed. That’s why you need to make sure your employees know what they’re doing.
Consider using an accredited training company to get your staff up to speed on the things they need to know.
Shred sensitive paperwork you no longer need
Identity theft and fraud are sadly commonplace in many parts of the world. It might surprise you to know that most of those problems happen as a result of negligence. Namely, unwanted sensitive documents that don’t get destroyed.
Shredders are inexpensive devices, and you can use them anywhere with an electrical socket! You might be wondering what to do if you need to destroy large volumes of paperwork. In those cases, the best solution is to use a firm that offers secure shredding services.
They will come out to your premises and collect the documents in locked containers. That paperwork will then get transported to a secure facility where they get destroyed. It’s also possible to have documents shredded securely on-site.